Polaroid: Links

Knock-kneed, bucktoothed,
I stand with a small golf bag slung

over my shoulder, my 96
ROCK hat pulled low, shielding

the bright Florida sun.
I am seven, out with my dad

chasing this small white
ball up and down the fairway

while he hits mulligans, calibrates
his swing. He wants me to be

the next Nancy Lopez. I just want
to spend time with him, would never

actually say I don’t like playing,
watching, talking about it

for hours on end. All too soon,
his handicap won’t refer

to his game but to the night
my mother found him on the floor,

the aftermath, the constant
tallying of the effort it takes

to get from one hazard to
the next. My father is away,

furthest from the hole, choosing
between iron and wood.

Copyright © 2015 Stacey Lynn Brown. Originally published in the Winter 2015 issue of Prairie Schooner. Used with permission of Prairie Schooner